Lost what to write this essay about, I travel through the notes I’ve created over the years. Many of them long forgotten. One catches my attention. One that I crowded out with the memories of the time when it was written. ‘Pep talk to a girl who wants to be everything and feels like she’s nothing’. January 21, 2021.
I worked in advertising and lived in Hamburg at the time; home to my last boyfriend, now alone, six short hours of daylight a day. Home office internship in advertising. Germany caught in what we called the „November Lockdown“ – a shutdown supposed to last one month that continued for seven.
This whole lockdown situation makes me feel like my life is more or less over. Moreover, as if it’s wasted. Bad decisions, too many no-s, too plenty wrong yes-ses. But gosh, I did have a great life up until now. I’m somehow telling myself I’m on the right path. If only I felt it.
The girl who recited a poem of her own writing at the United States’ President’s inauguration today was twenty-two. Is twenty-two. When I was twenty-two – I haven’t been in three years and four months – I was a writer. I wanted to be a journalist, and I was on track to become this person. Until I stopped writing. Writing, and podcasting, just when it became a thing. Just when I had finished my thesis on how podcasting is the ultimate medium of the future.
I had a few months to savor the fruit of pieces previously created, without producing anything new. And when it was time to do so, I didn’t. Maybe I was scared – it had been so long, I didn’t feel like I was still good enough. But, most probably, I was just too busy, busy making other plans. I got lost in falling in love with life and everything it holds for a privileged young woman in the twenty-first century. Running away from commitment and always believing, I still was that eighteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet who could become anything she wanted and be great at it – every day anew. Now I’m twenty-five, and while the world is fighting a pandemic, I am fighting my demons.
It’s been almost eleven months since I’ve turned these thoughts into words. Some demons still haunt me, but I learned that – while I will always let my inner child play – it’s about time to tackle my future.
When I was twenty-two, on a plane from New York City – the place of my first heartbeat, my first steps, and first words – I was asked if I was a writer. My heart flickered with that feeling of ‚I’m right where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to do, becoming whom I’m supposed to become.‘ The next time that happened was when I began to teach yoga.
So, here I am, writing something other than a journal entry, university paper, or birthday card for the first time in years. Why? I guess I got lost. Lost, believing that I could be anything. I could try everything because I am young, I am smart, and I have time. But now, stuck in a lockdown, in a city, that is not, nor feels like mine, after hours and days of staring at my computer, I daydream – twilight-dream – of all the things I still want to be. Want to do. The things I will not let become the ones that got away. Realizing for the first time: I don’t have the benefit of innocent youth anymore. Yes, I am young. But there are younger ones. Wilder ones. Smarter and sassier and more inexperienced but thereby more exciting ones. And as I am definitely, obviously, not the next one in line for the altar and multiple pregnancies to keep me busy, I guess it’s just time to get myself back busy in putting myself out there. Back making myself proud.
Eleven months later, I have tackled my dreams, moved back to the city that I crowned home, and – lockdown or not – I feel that spark again. That spark that inspires me to explore and learn and discover. I’m four sweet years wiser, stronger, smarter. Whatever the dream: it can grow. It will emancipate and become fluid. Yesterday I wanted the world, today I learn how to challenge it.
Keep pushing. Keep dreaming. Keep growing.